Newcastle Comedy Festival (0191 230 4406, to 22 Nov). Imagine the best of the Edinburgh Fringe slipping about 100 miles south. This week's highlights: Rhona Cameron (Playhouse, 0191 230 5151, Mon), Lee Hurst (Tyne, 0191 232 0899, Wed & Thurs), Donna McPhail (Playhouse, Wed), Greg Proops (Tyne, Fri), Matt Lucas (Playhouse, Fri), Sean Lock (Live, 0191 232 1232 Fri), Julian Clary (Tyne, Sat), and Jeremy Hardy (Playhouse, Sat). Nicholas Barber


41st London Film Festival (various cinemas, info 0171 420 1122, to 23 Nov). The first full week of the LFF has a nostalgic emphasis. The Brit- Lit movie is represented by Ian Softley's adaptation of The Wings of the Dove (Wed), with Linus Roache and Helena Bonham Carter; and Marleen Gorrif's Mrs Dalloway (Fri), with Vanessa Redgrave as Woolf's troubled society hostess. Mining the more recent past, Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (Mon), is a razor-sharp Seventies-set study of American middle-class mores, with Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Phillip Saville's Metroland (Thurs) is a comedy of bourgeois manners anatomising the same decade; and Waris Hussein's Sixth Happiness (Fri) takes us to Bombay in the Sixties. Meanwhile, a timely revival of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (Tues) offers American nostalgia in its most perfect form. More highlights include John Duigan's lauded Lawn Dogs (15; Wed), and the charity premiere of Michael Winterbottom's Welcome to Sarajevo (15; Thurs), based on the story of ITN's Michael Nicholson and his adoption of a Bosnian orphan.

Chasing Amy (18; in London from Fri). Kevin Smith (director of the uproarious Clerks and the underwhelming Mallrats) is reportedly back on form in this low-life comedy.

Incognito (15; in London from Fri). Romantic thriller set among international art forgers, starring Jason Patric, Irene Jacob and Rod Steiger.

Full Contact (18; in London from Fri). Chow Yun Fat, hero of The Killer and Hard Boiled, kicks ass in Ringo Lam's martial-arts thriller.

GI Jane (15; nationwide from Fri). Ridley Scott puts a scalped Demi Moore through her paces, presumably as some kind of baroque punishment for being in Striptease.

Last Summer in the Hamptons (15; in London from Fri). Stargate-star Viveca Lindfors and Lassie's best friend Roddy McDowell feature in this intergenerational drama.

Trial and Error (12; in London from Fri). Out-of-work actor Michael Richards impersonates his hungover attorney friend Jeff Daniels to save Rip Torn from jail. Matthew Sweet


Shining Souls (Old Vic, SE1, 0171 928 7616, Mon to 1 Dec). The last in the Old Vic's new plays season is Chris Hannam's very funny Glaswegian comedy - a hit at Edinburgh in 1996 - about a woman who can't decide which of the two Billy's in her life she wants to marry. See Good Venue Guide.

Chicago (Adelphi, WC2, 0171 344 0055, now previewing, opens 18 Nov). The hot musical ticket of the winter: the wonderful Ute Lemper joins Ruthie Henshall, Henry Goodman and Nigel Planer, who was last seen in a musical understudying David Essex in Evita. Robert Butler


Compagnie Tandem (Place, WC1, 0171 387 0031, Mon & Tues). The Belgian company brings its celebrated precision to Dance Umbrella in Les Plis de la nuit, by Michele Noiret.

Derek Deane's Nutcracker (Southampton Mayflower, 01703 711811, Thurs to 18 Nov; then touring; Coliseum, WC2, 0171 632 8300, from 8 Dec). Robert Tewsley makes his British debut as the Prince; later casts include the luscious Roberto Bolle.

Stephen Petronio Co (Brighton Dome, 01273 709709, Tues; Basingstoke Anvil, 01256 844244, Thurs). Last chance to feel the blast of hurricane Petronio before he heads back across the Atlantic.

A Christmas Carol (Woking New Victoria, 01483 761144, Tues-Sat). Northern Ballet Theatre's parcel of theatre, musical and ballet meets Christmas past, present and future in designs by Lez Brotherston and a score by Carl Davies. Jenny Gilbert


Art Ensemble of Chicago/Louis Moholo Quartet (RFH, SE1, 0171 960 4201, tonight). Free-form improvisers with trumpeter Lester Bowie.

McCoy Tyner Trio/Charles Lloyd Quartet (RFH, Mon). Ex-Coltrane quartet pianist paired with supreme saxophonist Lloyd's marvellous Euro-American band.

Jazz Umbrella All-Dayer (Spitz Club, E1, 0171 247 9747, today, noon-m't). Terrific mini-festival including saxophonist Tony Coe, Tim Richards and Sigi Finkel, and headliners Trevor Watts with the Moire Music Trio.

Kenny Garrett (Ronnie Scott's, W1 0171 439 0747, Mon-Sat). Miles Davis's last saxman, with star pianist Kenny Kirkland in the band.

Danilo Perez Trio (Pizza Express, W1, 0171 439 8722, Tues-Sat). Dizzy Gillespie's Panamanian pianist.

Butch Morris: Conduction (QEH, SE1, 0171 960 4242; Mon). New York avant- gardist's big British band.

Wolfgang Puschnig: Alpine Aspects (QEH, Wed). Traditional Austrian brassband music and jazz from Carla Bley's sax-man. Phil Johnson


Ben Harper (Glasgow King Tut's, 0141 221 5279, Mon; Sheffield Leadmill, 0114 275 4500, Tues; Manchester Hop & Grape, 0161 275 2959, Wed; Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, 01705 863911, Thurs; Bristol Fleece & Firkin, 0117 9277150, Sat; B'ham Ronnie Scott's, 0121 643 4525, Sun 16 Nov). A thoughtful, sensitive, political singer-songwriter from America, with a nifty slide-guitar talent and a powerhouse funk-rock band. A rarity, in other words.

Jewel (Empire, W12, 0181 740 7474, Fri). The 23-year-old Alaskan folk singer. Banal songs, but a voice that lives up to her name.

Echobelly (Norwich UEA, 01603 505401, Tues; Leicester De Montfort, 0115 934 2060, Wed; Leeds Metro Univ, 0113 244 2999, Thurs). Perennial not- quite-there Britpop combo play their third album, Lustra (Epic).

Radiohead (Cardiff Int'l Arena, 01222 224488, Sat; Wembley Arena, 0181 900 1234, Sun 16 Nov; Manchester Nynex, 0161 930 8000, 17 Nov; Birmingham NEC, 0121 780 4133, 19 Nov; Aberdeen Exhib Ctr, 01224 620011, 20 Nov). Arguably the most electrifying, and certainly the most revered, band in the country. Hence, you won't be able to get a ticket.

Rolf Harris (Dingwalls, NW1, 0171 267 1999, Thurs). Few gigs offer music by Alanis Morissette, Lou Reed and the Beatles alongside "Two Little Boys". Nicholas Barber


Boris Godunov (Theatre Royal, WC2, 0171 494 5064, tonight). One-off semi-staging by the Kirov Opera under Valery Gergiev, whose involvement is the only thing that could justify the hiked-up prices.

La Fedelta Premiata (Guildhall School, EC2, 0171 638 8891, from Tues). Charming pastoral nonsense by Haydn: hardly gripping theatre but a graceful sing.

Falstaff (Coliseum, WC2, 0171 632 8300, from Sat). The nicely clean-cut Matthew Warchus production seen at Opera North, with Alan Opie as the fat knight. Michael White


London International Piano Quintet (Wallace Collection, W1, 0171 935 0687, today). Young ensemble playing Mahler and Schubert.

Maxwell Davies Piano Concerto (Barbican, EC2, 0171 638 8891, Tues). New piece gets its London premiere from Kathryn Stott and the RPO.

Belfast Festival (01232 665577, Fri to 30 Nov). Highlights: Mahler's Resurrection Symphony (Sat); Alfred Brendel with Matthias Gorne (18 Nov); Britten's War Requiem (21 Nov).

Ligeti Series (RFH, SE1, 0171 960 4242, Tues). Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts modern classics Clocks and Clouds & Atmospheres.

Tasmin Little (St John's, Smith Sq, SW1, 0171 222 1061, Tues). Hard-working or what? The British violinist gives three solo performances in one orchestral concert. MW


Roger Hilton (Tate St Ives, 01736 796543, Sat to 26 Apr). Forty paintings, drawings and sketchbooks make up an important retrospective of this vital, instinctive and disobedient artist, from his early Parisian days to his death in Cornwall in 1975. Tim Hilton

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